Today’s Spotlight comes to us from FloridaÂ in the form of a film calledÂ Mike and WayneÂ about two guys who attempt to rob a liquor store to no avail. It’s well animated, well designed and it’s choice of palette colors is particularly refreshing.
AI: So let’s start out by having you introduce yourself and tell us a little about where you’ve come from to get you to this make this film.
Esteban: Hey!Â My name is Esteban Valdez, Iâ€™m the Founder of Echo Bridge Pictures and weâ€™re an animationÂ production company based in St Petersburg, Fla. and since our start weâ€™ve worked on some incrediblyÂ high profile projects and respected names in the business like FOX, FXX, CBBeeies, UMG andÂ Edelman. Weâ€™re focused on 2D production for music videos, commercials, corporate and educationalÂ videos, short and feature films, documentaries and episodic shows for television and the web.
I started back in 2000 working at small shops in and around Boston, MA. In late 2010 I planted someÂ roots in St Pete and founded the studio. Since then Echo Bridge has grown to be an artist driven studioÂ where we work pretty damn hard everyday to do what many other people thought was only possible inÂ LA and NYC.
AI: Some good credits! So tell us what “Mike and Wayne” isÂ about and who are these little blue guys?
Esteban: Itâ€™s about these two dumbasses named Mike & Wayne. Theyâ€™re the titular characters of our new shortÂ film who are not the sharpest knives in the proverbial drawer. Their mission is simple: get rich quick byÂ robbinâ€™ and stealinâ€™. Their target: the local liquor store. What our fearless (anti)heroes donâ€™t know is thatÂ the Cornah Store has the best defenses imagination can provide.Â Follow Mike & Wayne as they strive to make their dreams come true and are met with spectacularÂ failure.Â All for your enjoyment.
AI: Sounds like an interesting concept. I particularly liked the style and your choice of color. The backgrounds are beautiful too!
Esteban:Â Thanks! Well, a lot of the inspiration came from indie comics and zines and when it came to color I felt it only best to keep with that feel. What was challenging about it too was that itâ€™s both easy to see mistakes cause thereâ€™s no place to hide those mishaps and the work can also disappear if the values arenâ€™t probably separated. Â And with everything packed with detail as it is it pushed us artistically.
Maybe weâ€™re just artistic masochists because weâ€™re always looking to do something we havenâ€™t done and that challenges us. Â We donâ€™t do easy around these parts.
AI: So how did the idea for the film come about?
Esteban: The idea had been swimming around in my head/sketchbook for a few years, mostly inspired by theÂ classic Tom & Jerry cartoons and the styling of Daniel Clowes and Robert Crumb. To make somethingÂ simple and in your face without having to be so overly developed and processedâ€¦ I like to think ofÂ Mike & Wayne as a punk rock tune. Edgy, fast paced, no bullshit, and raw. And much like punk, itÂ wasnâ€™t about satisfying others Â itâ€™s about making something that we liked, that made us laugh.Â Artâ€™s so subjective and if youâ€™re trying to please every demographic youâ€™re going to end up withÂ something you donâ€™t enjoy looking at or love doing.
AI: Who worked on the film?
Esteban:Â I wrote the original premise and provided art and animation direction, however for this project we reallyÂ took a different approach than we normally do on client work. We got everyone together and pitchedÂ ideas around for scenarios. The ideas that made us laugh the most is what made it into the film so all inÂ all thereâ€™s a little bit of each of us throughout the film. When it came to the audio portion that was done mostly by my good friend and former band mate, Mark Mniece. He and I had some serious back andÂ forth trying to get things just right. Then Mark did what he did best and mixed us his best work on thatÂ track.
AI: What technology was used in it’s creation?
Esteban: We used Storyboard Pro 4 for storyboards and animatics, Flash CS5 for preproduction andÂ production, Premiere CS5 for post, Reason and ProTools for audio production using a FenderÂ Highway One Bass, Gibson SG Guitar through an Apogee Ensemble and Korg Keyboard for additionalÂ instruments. All our planning, coordinating, scheduling, tracking and file management was done throughÂ Basecamp and all things finance wise was handled via Quickbooks by myself and our accountant.
AI: How was it funded?
Esteban: The film was financed by the studio (Echo Bridge). It was expensive, but the end result is somethingÂ weâ€™re all really happy with.
AI: What is the end result for the film as in will you put it in festivals or was it just a personal piece you did for fun?
Esteban: The short film has been submitted to roughly 20 festivals worldwide and weâ€™re really hoping it doesÂ well. In the meantime the next 5 episodes are already in preÂproduction, and weâ€™ve recently signed onÂ with the Channel Frederator Network to produce a 12 episode season of Mike & Wayne. A couple ofÂ broadcast networks have also shown high interest in Mike & Wayne, but we feel that the nature of theÂ project is best suited for the net.
Weâ€™re really working hard to make sure that each cartoon is constantly raising the bar, getting crazierÂ and out Âthere.Â So far, the reviews weâ€™ve been getting from people weâ€™ve shown this too has been nothing short ofÂ awesome and weâ€™re really pumped to be producing something of our own.